In this final instalment of the analysis of Game of Thrones, we come to the most pressing question of all: who should rule Westeros – from a liberal point of view.
The ideal solution would of course be a democratic, maybe federal Westeros: some sort of constitutional monarchy, with elected governments and strong protection for individual human rights. As this clearly is not a realistic option at this point, some less than ideal solution need to be found.
Presently, only three options for the future of Westeros are conceivable. One is victory by the Night King and his undead army. As the Night King basically wants to kill all humans, this scenario is clearly not an ideal one for liberals. Victory by Cersei Lannister would be only slightly better: as a despotic monarch who has little to live for other than power, Cersei would not introduce any elements of constitutionalism or liberalism. She would concentrate power in her hands even more potentially igniting a new civil war.
Thus, the only scenario at least somewhat acceptable from a liberal standpoint is victory by the Targaryens: Jon and Daenerys. Both monarchs have shown a tendency to genuinely care about their subject – but both have also shown a willingness ignore their will. Daenerys threatens to kill anyone who does not accept her rule while Jon repeatedly broke his vows and promises to both the Night Watch and his Northern supporters. Of the two, Jon has been prone to treat all his subjects more humanely and with more decency, so of the two, he is the better choice. Jon also has at least some experience with quasi-democratic rule. In order to avoid civil war, marriage between the two Targaryens seems a good option.
The liberal or illiberal nature of their rule will depend on how much influence the Lannisters have. Both Tyrion and Jamie understand the importance of limiting power. Their inclusion in government would limit the monarch’s power and ensure that their egos are kept in check. Tyrion would also start working on introducing constitutionalism to the system. Eventually, a semi parliament composed of the major houses and maybe some of the “smallfolk” could evolve out of the chaos we see today.
Author: Dr. Csaba Tóth, Director of Strategy at Republikon Institute, a liberal Think Tank based in Budapest. He is also author of two books on Science Fiction and Politics.